My favorite running motivation: Running Frenemies

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Finishing a full marathon with my running Frenemy

 

I didn’t have a name for them until recently. Those friends. The long time running buddies, the ones that have been close friends even longer … and the ones who make me lose my mind during training.

I read an article this past year in Canadian Running magazine about why you need running rivals, and I finally had a term for them. Frenemies.

I have a couple of these friends. We don’t live too far from one another, but far enough away that training together isn’t usually possible. So we often “virtually train” together through Strava. I have often logged on to Strava and uploaded the run I’ve just completed, only to find that my frenemies have also completed their training run, but…only a little faster, or a little longer or with a lot more elevation.

And I lose my mind, just a little bit.🙂

I always feel guilty about my reaction. After all, they are my friends, and I am genuinely happy when they meet their goals, get faster and get new PBs. I often race with them and I am never disappointed to come in behind one or both of them. I can’t wait to get to the finish line to see if they killed their time or not. (of course, being the first of the group in is fun too…)

I finally realized that I am losing it, not because I’m unhappy that they are doing well, but because I’m irritated at my own lack of discipline. My firefighter friend is disciplined at speedwork, and does his crosstraining regularly (ugh – I hate speedwork… and crosstraining). And my other frenemy is a dedicated gym goer (gym, weights.. also yuck) and is much more conscious of being a healthy eater. For instance, not long ago she posted in Instagram picture of her dinner: steamed veggies, because she was too busy/tired to cook that night. I too was unable to cook that evening, however my dinner consisted of pita chips and hummus, followed by half a bag of ruffled chips with Hellavagood onion dip.

No word of a lie.

But, I am happy that I have frenemies. The friends, that whether they know it or not, (well, they do now) are pushing me to push myself harder. My best races and fastest times have either been run with them, or because of them. And my favorite race memories have been made with them.

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Pre-race compression sock selfie with the firefighter frenemy.

 

 

Now, I’ve got to get out and do my speedwork. I just checked my Strava and my friends already did theirs…😉

 

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Walking to the starting line of the Around the Bay 30k with two amazing running frenemies.

 

 

Jackie

Jackie

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This month’s Strava challenge: 1500m in elevation

Strava’s monthly challenges often give me that shove I need to go a little further, a little faster, a little longer, a little higher…

One of Strava’s challenges this month is to get 1500m in elevation over the month. I love these elevation challenges. While I don’t live in a super hilly area, I also don’t live in a flat neighbourhood. I often rue the fact that I don’t have a flat place to run and that since I live on a hill, my last km is always uphill.

When Strava has an elevation challenge, I end up seeking out instead of avoiding all those hills with 40m of elevation. I find myself doing my best to pack as much elevation into a 5 or 10k as is possible and taking advantage of every little up and down.

 

All my hill training pays off in races when, without any extra effort on my part, I find myself passing people on hills.

It’s amazing what a Strava Climbing Challenge “digital finishers badge” in my virtual Trophy Case will make me do…

Need some motivation? Check out Strava.com to track your runs, train and challenge yourself.

Jackie

Jackie

 

Update:  With a little help from my week in Vermont (I will do my best not to complain about my “hilly” neighbourhood anymore…) I completed the challenge and then some. Happy running.

Finding motivation wherever I can…

This morning was the kind of morning where I actually sat on my closet floor to get dressed.

I paused for a moment trying to decide whether to get dressed for the day or put on my running gear and sneak in a run on a rather damp day. Then, from my spot on the floor, I noticed a brightly colored pair of Lululemon running tights on the shelf that I bought in the summer and hadn’t worn yet. The happy thought that ran through my mind was how embarrassed my 16 year old son would be to know I was running around the neighbourhood in those tights… and my decision was made.🙂

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While I was at it, I pulled out a pair of zero drop Altra running shoes that I got last month and went for a short 5k to try them out.

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We have a store in town that sells gear for outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, skateboarding etc. Twice a year they have a clearance sale where they sell last season’s shoes for $45. I enjoy the sale, because the store sells shoes that I don’t see as much in the running and sports stores I usually shop at. Their sales give me a chance to get try out different brands and models of shoes that are regularly around $150 or more for not too big an investment. This time I tried a pair of Altras that feature a “zero drop”, a foot-shaped toe box and a gender specific fit.

While it is early to say whether I will switch to these shoes from my Mizunos, they felt comfortable and I felt good after the 5k. I could definitely feel the difference from my regular running shoe, so I’ll continue to work them in between runs in my regular shoes and see what I think.

So, I set out after my teenagers headed off to school (and after the 16 year old told me I looked ridiculous). I passed a lot of parents and grandparents walking their little ones to school. I enjoyed being the bright flash of colour running through the neighbourhood on this rather blah morning. As I said good morning to those I passed, the smiles were a little bigger than usual – I choose to believe I brightened their day.😉
Jackie

Jackie

 

 

 

 

Muggy Morning Runs – Flowers, Bunnies and Finding a Way to Get It Done!

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As soon as I stepped foot outside this morning, I had doubts about finishing my run this morning.  Not a good sign that you don’t think you can finish before you even start.🙂

It was muggy this morning – at 7:30 the humidity made 20C feel like 27C. I figured I’d try to get in about 5K when I started running, but about 1/2 a kilometer in I was already mentally cutting my run down to a 3K. I decided to veer off the sidewalk onto a natural path in our neighbourhood to see if it felt better – it didn’t. However, I did notice how beautiful all the wildflowers looked in the morning light. I decided to stop and take a picture… and then another picture… and my morning run turned into a run/nature picture taking and appreciation. I stopped frequently, but I managed to turn my 5k into a very sweaty but enjoyable 6.7k. I also noticed for the first time how many gorgeous wildflowers there are on my running path – and I managed to perhaps creep out a few walkers by crouching red faced and sweaty at the side of the path taking flower pictures… hehe.

Here are a few of my favorites from my run – and I’m glad I got it done – whatever it took.

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And this little guy that stopped to see what the sweaty lady was doing...

And this little guy that stopped to see what the sweaty lady was doing…

How do you make it through your run on those days when you just don’t think you can get  done? Hope you get out running today.🙂

Jackie

Jackie

 

Monday Morning Must Reads – links we loved!

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Jackie   JACKIE’S PICKS

DSC_0815_3 2   MANDY’S PICKS

  • I’ve been on a Pinterest pinning frenzy the last few months, looking for patterns to sew some cute dresses for my little girl (of course, I haven’t actually made anything yet!). I came across City shorts for gym shorts.  They are pretty cute, although I’m not sure how practical they would be for running.
  • If you are ever looking for a jogging stroller (or any baby equipment for that matter) Jogging Strollers on Lucie’s List always has the lowdown on what to pick.

Have you read (or wrote) anything lately that we should read? Let us know!

Monday Morning Must Reads – links we loved!

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Jackie   JACKIE’S PICKS

  • I know this is kind of the opposite of what we do here, but this was a funny and an enjoyable read: “Why I Don’t Run Ever by Calling Through the Fog.
  • This is a great post  at Shut Up + Run on why there should be no excuses not to run. This is instalment #2 of her 5 part series. Worth the read!
  • The Olivia Palermo Guide to Accessorizing Like a Pro. Okay, nothing to do with running but this chick always looks amazing. (Who is she anyway?)
  • This is an informative and inspiring post about running lean and fuelling your body. This article inspired a change in my eating habits.🙂

DSC_0815_3 2   MANDY’S PICKS

  • I always love reading about how exercise affects the brain.  This article talks about how the brain can be healed and shaped through deliberate efforts.  Spoiler alert: exercise is one way!
  • From the same website, here’s an interesting study on the effects of physical activity on children.  I’ve really been enjoying this website in general.
  • I’m always inspired when Jackie includes an errand into her run (a trip to the mechanic or the grocery store) so I thought this post was neat to read.   Basically, it is advocating that runners include “A to B” runs into their routine to show others than walking and running is a perfectly acceptable form of transportation.
  • Do your knees crack and pop?  My right knee has been cracking when I go up stairs, and it’s never happened before.  I thought I’d try some of these exercises to see if they help!

Have you read (or wrote) anything lately that we should read? Let us know!

Fitting in Strength Training

The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to find a strength workout to add to my workout schedule.  In the past, I’ve used lots of different online workouts, books, dvds, and apps.  I tried some of them out again, but nothing was really exciting me.  I used the Nike Training Club app for a few workouts, and while I like it, I was finding some of the moves over my ability right now.   

After scouring the internet for the perfect workout for me, I decided to just piece together some moves that I really like into my own routine.  I usually try to fit in a workout while my baby girl naps in the morning.  She usually sleeps for about an hour and half, so I wanted something quick that I could fit in, shower, get ready for the day, and still have a bit of time for some chores.  

For this workout, I just need some weights, an exercise ball, and my basement stairs.  :)   This is what I came up with:

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I’ve been doing just one round.  It’s enough to work up a sweat and feel like I put in a good effort.  On the weekend, when I have some more time, I’m going to fit in two rounds.

What is your favourite strength training workout?
 

Mandy   DSC_0815_3 2